#1
So i've noticed something. Why are guitar tube amp heads significantly lower than their bass counterparts? I'm used to having less selection, but i've found that a tube head for guitar can be had for as low as $100-$200 where as for bass, they'll start at roughly maybe $900 to $1000?

I can get a small tube amp for guitar at $100. Granted, it's only 5 watts, but with the way a guitar sounds, that probably sounds louder than a 100w bass combo


If we're talking full size tube, I can get a nice full size tube head for guitar at about $500. A nice full size tube head for bass costs more than twice that much. Why? What the hell is the difference?
pinga
#2
Material costs, brah. For a bass amp you need more tubes, more expensive tubes (KT88s or 6550s generally), a bigger power transformer (around 800v, 600w probably?), a huge, carefully built output transformer with enhanced low-frequency response and weird impedances, a bigger chassis, more heat dissipation...ya dig? And the engineering that goes into it is more complicated. It's hard to get really deep bass response out of an amp. Every penny of R&D is added into the retail price. Also, bass amps often feature additional electronics--compressors, graphic EQ and so on. All that costs money.

So lots of things.
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#3
Well in terms of wattage you've basically answered your own question. Valve bass heads have to be a lot beefier than their guitar counterparts to get the same punch, and even more because of the guitar's natural advantage in terms of frequency range.

I'm sure you could make a boutique low-wattage bass head for studio usage or something, but there just hasn't been enough of a demand for it.

If you're actually looking for one and not just asking hypothetically, the old Mesa 400+ can usually be nabbed for a pretty good price these days.

I could be completely wrong, but that's my understanding of it.
#4
Quote by AeolianSeventh
Material costs, brah. For a bass amp you need more tubes, more expensive tubes (KT88s or 6550s generally), a bigger power transformer (around 800v, 600w probably?), a huge, carefully built output transformer with enhanced low-frequency response and weird impedances, a bigger chassis, more heat dissipation...ya dig? And the engineering that goes into it is more complicated. It's hard to get really deep bass response out of an amp. Every penny of R&D is added into the retail price. Also, bass amps often feature additional electronics--compressors, graphic EQ and so on. All that costs money.

So lots of things.


This is a waaay better answer. Stick with this guy, you'll go far.

EDIT: Hey wait, no, this i the guy who keeps giving me shit for liking Line 6. Screw this guy. But he's totally right about this
#5
Tube amps are old, tubes are expensive, and alot of components are harder to get/more expensive. Bass speakers need lots of watts to sound good and loud. there is not a cheap tube bass amp phenominon ether, so your very limited to companys. Bugera has the new all tube bass head but it is like $700-800. to retube an 300 watt Tube SVT, your looking at $300 for a retube, vs. $130 for a typical tube guitar amp.
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#6
Quote by AeolianSeventh
Material costs, brah. For a bass amp you need more tubes, more expensive tubes (KT88s or 6550s generally), a bigger power transformer (around 800v, 600w probably?), a huge, carefully built output transformer with enhanced low-frequency response and weird impedances, a bigger chassis, more heat dissipation...ya dig? And the engineering that goes into it is more complicated. It's hard to get really deep bass response out of an amp. Every penny of R&D is added into the retail price. Also, bass amps often feature additional electronics--compressors, graphic EQ and so on. All that costs money.

So lots of things.

http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0213302010

The big huge badass Fender Bassman Pro is 120V and 300w.

I mean idk, it just doesn't seem to justify a price tag that is more than twice as much as a guitar counterpart, you know? But I see where you're coming from.
pinga
#7
I've been looking into it too, and it depends. Do you want a loud or do you want cheap. 70's fender Bassman 100, 135 are going for good prices, and a lot of old fender PA's are entirely tube driven and around 100-200 watts. All these at anything over $400 are nonsense, especially if they haven't been overhauled to clean and replace aged parts. Also unless the amp has never been touched, having the original tubes included is like getting a used car with the original tires.

The other option, is looking into guitar amps, tons of brands such as crate, peavey, B-52 all have 100-200 watt heads, most are two channel for a clean and driven sound. they are often geared to heavier guitar styles, which usually does emphasize bass or at least an articulate EQ, but with a graphic EQ or Sansamp you'd be on something lovely.

The only drawback is of course volume, but in practice, and mic'ed live and recording you'd be good. Also you have a 2x15 so air movement isn't an issue.
#8
Quote by askrere
I've been looking into it too, and it depends. Do you want a loud or do you want cheap. 70's fender Bassman 100, 135 are going for good prices, and a lot of old fender PA's are entirely tube driven and around 100-200 watts. All these at anything over $400 are nonsense, especially if they haven't been overhauled to clean and replace aged parts. Also unless the amp has never been touched, having the original tubes included is like getting a used car with the original tires.

The other option, is looking into guitar amps, tons of brands such as crate, peavey, B-52 all have 100-200 watt heads, most are two channel for a clean and driven sound. they are often geared to heavier guitar styles, which usually does emphasize bass or at least an articulate EQ, but with a graphic EQ or Sansamp you'd be on something lovely.

The only drawback is of course volume, but in practice, and mic'ed live and recording you'd be good. Also you have a 2x15 so air movement isn't an issue.

Yeah, I figured that was also an option. Also, I found it dumb that fender sells a 1000W ''bass power amp'' for about $1200 bucks. Wat.

Couldn't I just get a nice Crown power amp let's say, $500, and a nice pre for about 200-300 bucks and it'll do the same thing? Makes no sense at all.

Also, just to clarify, im not buying anything. Hell, I wish I had enough money to even be in the market for a tube head, this was just my curiosity running about.
pinga
#9
Quote by Cb4rabid
http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0213302010

The big huge badass Fender Bassman Pro is 120V and 300w.

I mean idk, it just doesn't seem to justify a price tag that is more than twice as much as a guitar counterpart, you know? But I see where you're coming from.

No, that has 300w output, which means probably 1500w consumption. And it uses 120v wall power, which the power transformer then steps up to 600-700v.
Money beats soul every time.

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#10
Quote by AeolianSeventh
No, that has 300w output, which means probably 1500w consumption. And it uses 120v wall power, which the power transformer then steps up to 600-700v.

Oh, screw me then. I don't know much about electrical jargon. I'm out of my league on this one, probably why I can't see the reason for the huge price jump.
pinga
#11
I may take alot of heat for saying this but I think tube amps are way better for guitar than they are for bass. I think the jump from SS to tube for guitar is a vast difference in quality sound but there are plenty of really good SS bass amps. It probably has something to do with frequencies and sound perception but all that talk is way out of my league
#12
^ I think a lot of that sort of thinking has to do with the fact that bassists don't tend to attach a stigma to solid state amps. Guitarists can be so tube-crazed, and since its much more feasible to manufacture budget-friendly tube guitar amps, there's a large market there. Bassists have been much more accepting of solid state, and as a result we have more companies putting more money into developing SS bass amps, and now we have excellent SS amps in every price bracket.
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#13
Quote by Tostitos
^ I think a lot of that sort of thinking has to do with the fact that bassists don't tend to attach a stigma to solid state amps. Guitarists can be so tube-crazed, and since its much more feasible to manufacture budget-friendly tube guitar amps, there's a large market there. Bassists have been much more accepting of solid state, and as a result we have more companies putting more money into developing SS bass amps, and now we have excellent SS amps in every price bracket.


I couldnt agree more and im glad its that way
#14
This, and the reason guitarists love their tubes is for the overdriven sound. In general, bass players prefer a clean sound, and there is absolutely no evidence that a clean tube power stage sounds any different to a solid state one.
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#15
Quote by AeolianSeventh
Material costs, brah. For a bass amp you need more tubes, more expensive tubes (KT88s or 6550s generally), a bigger power transformer (around 800v, 600w probably?), a huge, carefully built output transformer with enhanced low-frequency response and weird impedances, a bigger chassis, more heat dissipation...ya dig? And the engineering that goes into it is more complicated. It's hard to get really deep bass response out of an amp. Every penny of R&D is added into the retail price. Also, bass amps often feature additional electronics--compressors, graphic EQ and so on. All that costs money.

So lots of things.


This brah has it right.

I own the Fender Bassman 300 Pro and I can say that it is quite a beefy and monstrous thing.


Love the Low end
#16
Quote by TheBrownPenguin
I may take alot of heat for saying this but I think tube amps are way better for guitar than they are for bass. I think the jump from SS to tube for guitar is a vast difference in quality sound but there are plenty of really good SS bass amps. It probably has something to do with frequencies and sound perception but all that talk is way out of my league

Totally agree. For the guitar I can only think of...let's see...four production-model SS amps that I would take to a gig, but SS seems to really work for bass.
Money beats soul every time.

Money beats soul...every time.

Money...beats soul...every...goddamn...time.
#19
Quote by Cb4rabid
I've never even seen an SS guitar amp head

there are a lot of them in the market, but they usually suck so much... for example, UG's most hated amp, the MG, comes in head at they high wattage model (250 dx, or something like that)

And yes, I'm happy to see that in bass, you have good SS amps. cause when i played guitar, it was all like, "my dream is a tube amp"...
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#20
Quote by Bass First
^Do you live in a city overrun by elitist guitarist overlords?

Guess so. Maybe im thinking too much aesthetic. All guitar heads look like those big tube amps i'm used to seeing, i've never seen a guitar amp that looks like your typical ''rectangular'' SS bass amp (think Peavey tour type chassis).

In other words, rack mountable.
pinga
#21
Tube amps for bass is really very focused on one particular sound/style.I find SS bass amps can be very versatile,and,bundled with all the other advantages of ss heads (size,weight,cost,reliability), I can certainly see why they are very popular among bassists.
But,if you are after that tube-y sound,which is very common in hard/heavy rock,truly nothing can beat a tube power section.
I mainly play stoner rock,and so for me,an SS amp will always lack that growl and depth of a tube amp,especially when matched with a big cabinet,even when the amp is pretty clean.True,a nice solid state rig will have a large ranging frequency response,and supreme clarity with many frequencies,but the lack of definition and natural frequency cuts in some tube amps can be very desirable for bass.

TS,tube bass heads can be had for cheap,particularly vintage ones,but you have to be prepared to compromise on modern features and look beyond well known brands.
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